Film fans everywhere are encouraged to mark their calendars and save the dates for the 17th annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which will take place April 24-May 8, 2025.  MFF25 Call For Entries is open to feature and short films with a completed production date after January 1, 2023.

SUBMISSIONS ARE ALWAYS FREE FOR LOCAL FILMMAKERS! Fill out the form below before you submit to our Cream City Cinema category. https://milwaukeefilm.formstack.com/forms/mff_waiver_discount_request

For all questions related to submissions, please see our Rules & Terms or email entry@mkefilm.org.

We thank you for sharing your films with us!

Milwaukee Film, in its ongoing efforts to inspire and promote filmmaking in southeastern Wisconsin, offers various awards to locally made films. Films selected to screen in competition for these awards will be notified in advance of the festival.

In addition, two audience awards, presented by Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig, are given to the top-rated short- and feature-length films in the festival based on audience ratings.

SUBMISSIONS
All filmmakers or other film rights holders who submit films for consideration for MFF25 must do so using FilmFreeway. As FilmFreeway users, all Applicants, therefore, agree to be bound by the FilmFreeway Terms of Service for Filmmakers, Screenwriters, and Non-Festivals (https://filmfreeway.com/page/terms-of-service). If any provisions of these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions conflict with the FilmFreeway Terms of Service, then these Filmmaker Terms and Conditions will control.

All films submitted to FilmFreeway must be in the form of an online screener or Vimeo link. If a link is password protected, then the password must be valid through March 21, 2025, otherwise, your submission will be considered INVALID and will be DISQUALIFIED with no entry-fee refund.

LOCAL FILMMAKERS - Please fill out this form before submitting to the Cream City Cinema category - https://milwaukeefilm.formstack.com/forms/mff_waiver_discount_request

ELIGIBILITY
Milwaukee Film reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted.

Filmmakers may only submit one film for consideration.

Only productions completed after January 1, 2023 may be submitted.

There is no premiere status required for the Milwaukee Film Festival.

Works in progress, industrial, and instructional works are not eligible.

Accepted films may NOT screen publicly (theatrical, festival, or event-type screenings) in Milwaukee County after January 1, 2025. Milwaukee Film reserves the right to exclude films that violate this screening embargo from the festival.

Public screenings in the Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington counties prior to April 25, 2025 may affect programming decisions.

To be eligible for the Cream City Cinema category, the director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, sound editor, or lead actor(s) must reside in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington County.

To be eligible for the Cream City Cinema awards, all directors must reside in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington County.

All films must be submitted for selection through an online file upload (up to 10GB) or link your video via Vimeo or YouTube.

Accurate statistics are not always recorded using Vimeo’s methods of tracking loads and views. Vimeo videos viewed via a third-party player do not always record statistics in the same way that videos viewed via their direct link in a web browser are counted. If we view your project using the Vimeo app on another streaming device (such as Apple TV or Roku), it is also being viewed via a third-party player. The vast majority of the films submitted to us are viewed in this manner, and therefore the statistics are not counted in the same way that they would be watched via a direct link.

Foreign language films must be made available with the original language soundtrack and English subtitles.

For films invited to screen at the festival, exhibition formats must arrive in Milwaukee no later than Wednesday, March 26, 2025.

Award eligibility will be confirmed at the time of film selection.

The online submission form must be completed by January 31, 2025.

Entrant confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the Festival and to use all music, images, and content in the entry. In addition, entrant will allow usage of images and/or clips from the film for promotional use on television, radio, in print, and at Festival events.

Accepted films will be invited to screen no later than March 21, 2025.

Films not accepted into the festival will be notified by email only by March 21, 2025.

Please add entry@mkefilm.org to your list of white-listed senders to assure receipt of this email notification. Due to the number of submissions we receive, Milwaukee Film cannot provide feedback on any entries. No calls, please.

FEES
Submission fees for MFF25 increase over time. Early submissions are therefore encouraged. For further details, please see the Dates & Deadlines and Categories & Fees sections on MFF’s FilmFreeway page.

Milwaukee Film is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Fees collected through the Call for Entries process directly compensate our programming staff to review and process film submissions, so please do not request a waiver, unless you meet one of the following requirements:

If you are an Applicant who is also an MFF Alum, meaning that MFF has screened one of your feature or short films in a previous festival, then MFF will waive your submission fee for any film meeting the MFF25 requirements outlined herein.

If you are an Applicant who identifies as LGBTQ, BIPOC, Arab-American, Latinx, AAPI or another disinvested identity group, then MFF will provide a discount code for your submission fee upon request.

If you are an Applicant who qualifies for our Cream City Cinema program, which also includes our Milwaukee Youth Show program, then MFF will waive your submission fee for any film meeting the MFF25 requirements outlined herein.

If you believe you qualify for any of the above, access the form here. https://milwaukeefilm.formstack.com/forms/mff_waiver_discount_request

REFUNDS
MFF will not honor any requests for submission-fee refunds. Refunds will not be issued to any Applicant for any submission, regardless of selection for MFF25, for any reason, including changes to MFF25’s dates, venues, or format that MFF may announce at any time.

If a film is invited to screen, the following information will be important to have in mind. Submission of work to the festival does not indicate an invitation to screen, the below is provided for informational purposes only.

SHIPPING & MATERIALS
Exhibition copies of all films and videos screening in the Festival must arrive by Wednesday, March 26, 2025. Detailed technical specs will be provided at the time of booking, to conform with the best possible presentation on our virtual festival platform.

In general:
In-person bookings must be screened from a DCP. We can accept HD files via transfer for short films and will convert to DCP for exhibition.

We will expect films to provide files that enable the use of closed-captioning, though exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis at the time of booking
If you have an audio description version of your film available, please let us know at the time of booking.

Milwaukee Film covers inbound shipping costs for all in-person feature film exhibition materials. For short films, we anticipate receiving primarily through electronic transfer.

Shipping terms are negotiable at the time of booking only.

Marketing materials must be made available; materials provided to Milwaukee Film for purposes of promotion will not be returned.

SCREENING AND APPEARANCE FEES
​Milwaukee Film values the work of artists and offers to pay screening fees to all films selected to screen in the festival.

Milwaukee Film does not require attendance but values the time and energy of artists. In addition to complimentary access to films and events, we are able to provide a modest appearance fee and/or cover the cost of travel and lodging to those who give their time to engage with our audiences in substantive ways. Details will be provided when appearance is being planned; this intent to host many guests does not represent an invitation.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • I love this festival and the community that has been carefully cultivated around it. It's a deeply generous, artist-friendly, insightful program. I make a point to take time off and attend as much as possible every year. Having just attended a powerhouse, prestigious film festival in another place, known for launching films and connecting filmmakers with industry professionals, I found many aspects of the Milwaukee festival to be better. The pre- and post-film introductions and discussions, as well as the artful festival trailers, were much better in Milwaukee, for instance. And the programming for filmmakers is focused and meaningful. The Milwaukee Film Festival will always be one of my cultural homes.

    May 2024
  • What a fantastic experience! Excellent communication from the entire fest team. Exceptional support for filmmakers. Great audiences. One of the very best festivals we've been to!!!

    May 2024
  • This festival has a lot of heart and community involvement and support. It's a treat to view films at the Avalon and The Oriental Theatre (these are the two theaters we viewed films though there are four theaters available) The communication is great and it's fun to attend films with good attendance.

    May 2024
  • Lola Milanovic

    Absolutely stunning first time festival experience!! So many authentic and open hearted people made this event possible! THANK YOU!

    May 2024
  • Meg Griffiths

    We screened our feature doc at MFF, and it was one of our favorite festivals on the circuit. The team was extremely welcoming and worked with CIFF to plan our travel to and from the festival. The Oriental Theater is an amazing venue, the audience was deeply engaged in each of our Q&As, and the filmmaker lounge was a really awesome bar right near the theater. Most importantly the festival gave us really advantageous slots, which we really appreciated since we traveled across the country to attend the festival in-person. Can't wait to come back to the festival in the future!

    May 2024